Emily Hallum is “addicted” to CrossFit.
“It’s called a pink cloud,” Emily explained. “When you get out of treatment, you think ‘This feels great. I’m sober.’ But then you come to realize that you have to stay sober. I came off the pink cloud and started using again.”
In October of 2014, Emily used drugs throughout a weekend festival in Crowley. Then the worst thing that could happen did happen. She ran out.
“That’s when I told myself I can’t do this anymore. I had to get sober on my own, for good,” she continued.
Emily said addiction continued to be a struggle because she always had a reason to use.
“When my kids cried, it was a struggle. When anything bad happened, it was a struggle,” she explained. “But when anything good happened, I wanted to use drugs to celebrate. That’s how an addict works. It doesn’t matter if it’s a good day or it’s a bad day, it’s always a struggle.”
Emily said she can’t thank her husband, John, enough for sticking with her through all the highs and lows.
“He’s been such a good support system,” she said.
Her second favorite support system was found in a less obvious place in January – CrossFit Unlimited Eunice.
Immediately after joining, she surprisingly found a dysfunctional, super supportive family that struggles together during every intense workout. Emily would much rather struggle with burpees than Xan Bars.
“I don’t struggle with my drug addiction anymore,” she said. “Now, when I have a good day, CrossFit makes it even better, and when I have a bad day, CrossFit makes it better. It’s like an addiction, but this addiction doesn’t take away from my husband or my kids. It doesn’t steal my money or my time, my attention or my mood. This is something I get to do every morning, for myself, that gives me more energy for my family and makes me a more positive person. Now, I can jump on the trampoline with my kids. I can play outside with them. I can be there for them every day.”
Emily has put herself through a lot of pain over the years, but now she realizes that pain is just weakness leaving her body.
Today, she embraces the pain and when a workout leaves her sore, it reminds her that she’s still alive and healthy … and sober.
“Being sore makes me feel like I did something,” she said. “That first workout, that’s the first time I had really sweat in a long time. It felt good. I felt accomplished. It was a different kind of high than the one I was used to. From that point on, I kept going back because every day, I would do something that I didn’t think I could do.”
A self-proclaimed “girly girl” who never played any sports growing up, Emily said she felt uncomfortable with a barbell at first.
She spent a lot of time with a 15-pound unloaded barbell in the beginning. But earlier this week, Emily stood up with a 105-pound squat clean while surrounded by a circle of encouraging friends.
Although Emily is still young to the sport of CrossFit, success isn’t always measured by the amount of weight one can lift. Sometimes it’s measured by refusing to be weighed down by life, no matter how heavy it gets.
“My brother would be so proud of me. He was a sports kid. He would be doing this with me right now. Next to me. This could’ve helped him get sober. With me,” she said, teary-eyed.
Despite losing him, Emily feels like her brother is still with her, and she feels extremely fortunate to still be with her husband and kids.
“They weren’t proud of who I was,” she noted. “But now I smile more, I laugh more. I’m happy. My family is proud of me today. Definitely.”
“I am proud of me, too.”
We are all super proud of you, Em.